Throughout his life, Kant was concerned with questions about empirical psychology. He aimed to develop an empirical account of human beings, and his lectures and writings on the topic are recognizable today as properly 'psychological' treatments of human thought and behavior. In this book Patrick R. Frierson uses close analysis of relevant texts, including unpublished lectures and notes, to study Kant's account. He shows in detail how Kant explains human action, choice, and thought in empirical terms, and how a better (...) understanding of Kant's psychology can shed light on major concepts in his philosophy, including the moral law, moral responsibility, weakness of will, and cognitive error. Frierson also applies Kant's accounts of mental illness to contemporary philosophical issues. His book will interest students and scholars of Kant, the history of psychology, philosophy of psychology, and philosophy of action. (shrink)
This book offers a comprehensive account of Kant's theory of freedom and his moral anthropology. The point of departure is the apparent conflict between three claims to which Kant is committed: that human beings are transcendentally free, that moral anthropology studies the empirical influences on human beings, and that more anthropology is morally relevant. Frierson shows why this conflict is only apparent. He draws on Kant's transcendental idealism and his theory of the will and describes how empirical influences can affect (...) the empirical expression of one's will in a way that is morally significant but still consistent with Kant's concept of freedom. As a work which integrates Kant's anthropology with his philosophy as a whole, this book will be an unusually important source of study for all Kant scholars and advanced students of Kant. (shrink)
Philosophers, anthropologists and biologists have long puzzled over the question of human nature. It is also a question that Kant thought about deeply and returned to in many of his writings. In this lucid and wide-ranging introduction to Kant’s philosophy of human nature - which is essential for understanding his thought as a whole - Patrick R. Frierson assesses Kant’s theories and examines his critics. He begins by explaining how Kant articulates three ways of addressing the question ‘what is the (...) human being?’: the transcendental, the empirical, and the pragmatic. He then considers some of the great theorists of human nature who wrestle with Kant’s views, such as Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, and Freud; contemporary thinkers such as E.O.Wilson and Daniel Dennett, who have sought biological explanations of human nature; Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault, and Clifford Geertz, who emphasize the diversity of human beings in different times and places; and existentialist philosophers such as Sartre and Heidegger. He argues that whilst these approaches challenge and enrich Kant’s views in significant ways, all suffer from serious weaknesses that Kant’s anthropology can address. Taking a core insight of Kant’s - that human beings are fundamentally free but finite - he argues that it is the existentialists, particularly Sartre, who are the most direct heirs of his transcendental anthropology. The final part of the book is an extremely helpful overview of the work of contemporary philosophers, particularly Christine Korsgaard and Jürgen Habermas. Patrick R. Frierson explains how these philosophers engage with questions of naturalism, historicism, and existentialism while developing Kantian conceptions of the human being. Including chapter summaries and annotated further reading, What is the Human Being? is an outstanding introduction to some fundamental aspects of Kant’s thought and a judicious assessment of leading theories of human nature. It is essential reading for all students of Kant and the philosophy of human nature, as well as those in related disciplines such as anthropology, politics and sociology. (shrink)
This article draws on Martha Nussbaum's distinction between basic, internal, and external capacities to better specify possible locations for children's ‘incapacity’ for autonomy. I then examine Maria Montessori's work on what she calls ‘normalization’, which involves a release of children's capacities for autonomy and self-governance made possible by being provided with the right kind of environment. Using Montessori, I argue that, in contrast to many ordinary and philosophical assumptions, children's incapacities for autonomy are best understood as consequences of an absence (...) of external conditions necessary for children to exercise capacities they already have internally, rather than intrinsic limitations based on their stage of life. In a closing section, I show how Montessori proposes a model wherein both children and adults have autonomy, power, and responsibility, but over different spheres, and suggest implications of these differences for who has responsibility for establishing the conditions under which children can flourish. (shrink)
This paper lays out the epistemology of Maria Montessori . I start with what I call Montessori's ‘interested empiricism’, her empiricist emphasis on the foundational role of the senses combined with her insistence that all cognition is infused with ‘interest’. I then discuss the unconscious. Partly because of her emphasis on early childhood, Montessori puts great emphasis on unconscious cognitive processes and develops a conceptual vocabulary to make sense of the continuity between conscious and unconscious processes. The final sections turn (...) to two brief but important applications of this general epistemic framework, the importance of ‘meditation’ as an epistemic practice and Montessori's accounts of epistemic virtues. (shrink)
As J. Baird Callicott has argued, Adam Smith's moral theory is a philosophical ancestor of recent work in environmental ethics. However, Smith's "all important emotion of sympathy" (Callicott, 2001, p. 209) seems incapable of extension to entities that lack emotions with which one can sympathize. Drawing on the distinctive account of sympathy developed in Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, as well as his account of anthropomorphizing nature in "History of Astronomy and Physics," I show that sympathy with non-sentient nature is (...) possible within a Smithian ethics. This provides the possibility of extending sympathy, and thereby benevolence and justice, to nature. (shrink)
In the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant explains that moral anthropology studies the “subjective conditions in human nature that help or hinder [people] in fulfilling the laws of a metaphysics of morals” and insists that such anthropology “cannot be dispensed with” (6:217).1 But it is often difficult to find clear evidence of this sort of anthropology in Kant’s own works. in this paper, i discuss Kant’s account of character as an example of Kantian moral anthropology.
Patrick R. Frierson - Character and Evil in Kant's Moral Anthropology - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:4 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.4 623-634 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Character and Evil in Kant's Moral Anthropology Patrick Frierson In the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant explains that moral anthropology studies the "subjective conditions in human nature that help or hinder [people] in fulfilling the laws of a metaphysics of morals" and insists that such anthropology "cannot be dispensed (...) with". But it is often difficult to find clear evidence of this sort of anthropology in Kant's own works. In this paper, I discuss Kant's account of character as an example of Kantian moral anthropology. Kant's account of character is one of the most important parts of his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. Kant describes the character of the person, in particular, as the "distinguishing mark of the human being as a rational being endowed with freedom" and says that character "indicates what the human being is prepared to make of himself". Recently, Kant commentators have gone even further. G. Felicitas Munzel, for example, claims that character is "the systematic link between the moral, aesthetic, and anthropological elements of Kant's works." This paper will not investigate the full richness of Kant's account of character. Instead, I focus on one particular problem that arises in Kant's discussion of... (shrink)
This paper shows how Maria Montessori's thought can enrich contemporary virtue epistemology. After a short overview of her ‘interested empiricist’ epistemological framework, I discuss four representative intellectual virtues: sensory acuity, physical dexterity, intellectual love, and intellectual humility. Throughout, I show how Montessori bridges the divide between reliabilist and responsibilist approaches to the virtues and how her particular treatments of virtues offer distinctive and compelling alternatives to contemporary accounts. For instance, she emphasizes how sensory acuity is a virtue for which one (...) can be responsible, highlights the embodied nature of cognition through a focus on physical dexterity, interprets intellectual love as a way of loving the world rather than as a love that takes knowledge as its object, and presents an alternative account of intellectual humility to contemporary emphases on the interpersonal dimensions of this virtue. (shrink)
Through philosophical analysis of Montessori’s critiques of psychology, I aim to show the enduring relevance of those critiques. Maria Montessori sees experimental psychology as fundamental to philosophy and pedagogy, but she objects to the experimental psychology of her day in four ways: as disconnected from practice, as myopic, as based excessively on methods from physical sciences, and—most fundamentally—as offering detailed examinations of human beings (particularly children) under abnormal conditions. In place of these prevailing norms, Montessori suggests a model of the (...) teacher-scientist in a specially prepared environment, who can engage in sustained and impassioned observation of “normalized” children. Drawing from a variety of texts and recently published lectures, this article lays out Montessori’s philosophy of experimental psychology and briefly discusses its relevance today. (shrink)
These remarks focus on Kraus’s claim that for Kant the category of substance cannot apply to the soul but that instead we can and should apply a merely regulative idea of the soul. While granting Kraus’s contention that we require an idea of the soul in order to investigate inner experience, I argue that the category of substance nonetheless applies to the soul, but that the notion of the soul as entirely non-corporeal is a regulative idea. To explore this contention, (...) I closely examine two crucial passages Kraus uses to argue against parity between inner and outer sense. (shrink)
For Kant, cosmopolitan ethical community is a necessary response to humans’ radical evil. To be cosmopolitan, this community must not depend on particular historical religions. But Kant’s defense of ethical community uses Christian concepts such as providence and divine mercy. This paper explores two ways—one more liberal and the other more religious—to relate the theological commitments underlying ethical cosmopolitanism with the non-dogmatic nature of Kantian religion.
The Naked Self is a great book. It is good Kierkegaard scholarship and an excellent model of bringing history of philosophy to bear on contemporary metaphysics. After a stage-setting introduction, the book has eight main chapters and a conclusion including questions and answers from an imagined interlocutor. Stokes takes the reader from how “Kierkegaard’s phenomenology of self-experience may… be a useful resource for neo-Lockean metaphysics” to a sustained defense that “Kierkegaard himself is playing a different, and altogether more interesting, game”.Stokes’s (...) boldness is evident in his title, which remains mysterious until late in the book. Stokes draws on two key passages... (shrink)
Frederick Beiser continues to unfold the German philosophical tradition, refusing to let a static and narrowly construed canon of "big names" obscure important philosophical debates in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Germany. Weltschmerz focuses on the pessimism controversy, the debate over "the thesis that life is not worth living, that nothingness is better than being, or that it is worse to be than not be".The most important philosopher in the book is Arthur Schopenhauer. Chapters 1–4 are devoted to Schopenhauer's legacy, metaphysics, pessimism, (...) and "the illusion of redemption." Chapter 1 lays out important information about Schopenhauer's central role in German philosophy in the latter half of the... (shrink)